View topic - First winter camping, overnighter, need a bit of advice

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2016, 10:00 pm 
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Joined: October 31st, 2016, 9:32 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Missoula, Montana
open_side_up wrote:
Finally, if you are wearing you winter boots during the day and planning to wear the liners at night as well, I would be sure to wear a vapour barrier inside during waking hours to keep perspiration/transpiration/moisture out of the felt.

I'm not a fan of vapor barrier clothing, because I get all damp and clammy inside the vapor barrier. In cold weather, your body heat will drive moisture out through your bag, and it'll evaporate. For example, on a not-particularly-fun ski trip on Mt. St. Helens in Washington, we got totally soaked by driving rain and strong winds. We built snow walls to protect our tents, set up the tents, and dove inside them. The guy I was with was using a very warm down bag he used on Denali, and I could see the outlines of his legs through the soggy down. I had a fiber fill bag, so I was better off. My clothing was soaking wet, and the palms of my hands were so wet they were wrinkled. But despite the high humidity, about 3:00 am I woke up for a moment and realized that my hands were dry. And when I woke up in the morning, my polypro clothing was pretty dry. One of the guys on the trip had a viewfinder point-and-shoot camera (this was back in the days of film cameras) in a waterproof stuff sack inside his pack, and when he took it out in the morning to take a picture, the viewfinder was full of water except for a small bubble of air. We turned around and headed home. It was a total rout.


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PostPosted: December 5th, 2016, 10:32 pm 
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Joined: October 9th, 2009, 9:52 am
Posts: 732
Location: Toronto Beach(es)
Some hate vapour barriers, others swear by them. The vapour barrier I was referring to was bread bags inside his boots.


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PostPosted: December 6th, 2016, 9:18 pm 
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Joined: November 7th, 2016, 10:18 am
Posts: 6
Location: Hanmer Ontario
I have hammock camped in -7 C weather and was OK. -7 rated underquilt, -17 sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tarp, good gloves, hat, balaclava and a wool scarf to wrap your face with!
With out the scarf wrapping my head my eye lids were freezing!

One nice thing, never have to worry about enough ventilation to keep moisture down!
I will admit though I monitored the weather channel before the outing to ensure favorable conditions such as wind and snow. I also had my three season tent set-up in case things went stray. I can not imagine doing this in a hammock in temperatures that may be unknown and being subjected to unpredictable winter weather. Recipe for disaster. Bring a tent. Perhaps bring your hammock as well. Don't wait for things to go real bad in your hammock to bail and run to the tent!


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PostPosted: December 7th, 2016, 7:24 pm 
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Joined: November 14th, 2013, 10:24 pm
Posts: 245
Location: Huntsville Ont.
If you had time and snow you could make a Quinzhee


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2016, 6:39 am 
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Joined: December 24th, 2008, 10:31 am
Posts: 122
Location: Jokeville
pmmpete wrote:
Scapulataf, I think that you're making your winter camping project a lot more difficult and less likely to be successful by basing it around a hammock. I think you'd be better off sleeping on the ground in any tent. But if you insist on sleeping in a hammock, I suggest that you experiment with putting an insulating layer into the hammock under your sleeping bag. You could fold a couple of blankets into a narrow rectangle, but I suspect that they would get bunched up and twist out of place as you turn over at night (assuming that turning over is even possible in your hammock). You could put a thermarest-style pad into the hammock. Such a sleeping pad would stay in place when you move, but those pads tend to be pretty slippery, which might be a problem in a hammock.



Believe me, I've dealt with enough engineers and project managers over the years that make things more difficult than they need to be, I absolutely try to avoid making things more difficult whenever possible. The thing is, I'd been planning on getting a hammock anyway. It works out like this: I can afford to spend 200$ on a hammock, but I can't afford to spend 3-400$ on a four season tent. So I was trying to figure out what would be best if I'm using a hammock. This is only an over nighter, to test out some gear, I've got a new camp stove I wanted to try out in a real world situation. Being miserable for a night, well, I can always go home take a hot shower and sleep for the rest of the day if need be.

That being said, yesterday I found a place that rents four season tents, so problem solved. I can rent the tent (thanks for "opening my eyes") and spare myself the expense of the hammock until a later date.

Our intinerary is going to be something like this: Head out on a friday afternoon, set up camp, get the fire going, cook a meal, sit around the fire for a few hours, insult each other and lie about how many girls we get, go to bed. Wake up the next morning, break camp and go home.

Open_side_up: I was going to be wearing the liners only at night, when I sleep. During the day, I'd be wearing my hiking boots with warm socks. Come bed time I'd be taking off the boots, changing socks and slipping the liners on my feet. So theoretically they'd be dry, if a bit cold for the first little while.

To the others: I'd love a hot tent or a quinzee, but its just going to be an overnighter, and we're going to carry everything on our backs. No sled or anything.

Thanks all for the advice, I appreciate all of it. I'm looking forward to this.


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2016, 9:22 am 
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Joined: October 31st, 2016, 9:32 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Missoula, Montana
Scapulataf, post a description of your overnighter! As long as your sleeping bag plus clothing are warm enough, you should have fun.

Two other thoughts:

1. As soon as you decide where to camp, tromp down and flatten out your tent site, and let the snow set up. Skis or snowshoes make this easier, and help you get the snow flatter. If you don't tromp down the snow, it'll tend to subside under you at night.

2. An amusingly common camping mishap is the camper doesn't stake down their tent, the wind comes up, and the tent, often with contents, takes off like a box kite or a tumbleweed. Standard tent stakes don't work in snow, and making snow stakes is a project for another post. If your rental tent doesn't come with guy lines tied to its fly, add guy lines about 6'-8' long. You can either tie the tent to nearby trees and bushes, or make deadmen by tying the lines to pieces of branch, burying them (a lightweight shovel comes in handy for this, as in many other things in the winter), and letting the snow set up. Better yet, tie pieces of line a couple feet long to the sticks before you bury them, and tie your guy lines to loops in the ends of those pieces of line, which allows you to adjust the tension on your guy lines after the deadmen are buried.


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PostPosted: January 8th, 2017, 5:55 pm 
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Joined: April 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1145
Location: Barrie, Ontario Canada
Scapula,

How did it go? I applaud your wish to go into the winter bush. It's pure, in a way that it isn't in summer.

FWIW, most people think of snow as cold. It isn't. Compared to the air, it's warm. When it's dry (not melting) it's full of air and insulates up to 0C. This is a big advantage when it drops to -20C or colder. Use it.

In short, air is cold, snow is warm.

So, you're better to sleep on the snow. A common arrangement is a foam pad under a thermarest.

Any kind of tent is fine -- even a tarp over a line between 2 trees -- although some are better than others. The standard hiking done-tent ices up inside on a cold winter night, and when you move all the frost drops down onto your bag, and if it's above freezing, melts.

I hot-tent. But if I get dropped off near dark, and there isn't time for a wall-tent set up, I use the fly-sheet over a line between 2 trees, seal up one end, put the tin stove at the other with firewood, and crawl in for the night.

But the BEST advice I can give is to go winter camping with someone who is experienced.

Learning the hard way can be very hard. But be careful and make sure you go.

Dave


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